Radio show host suing individuals for online slander

Alari Kivisaar.
Alari Kivisaar. Source: Social media.

Show host of a morning program on commercial station SkyPlus radio, Alari Kivisaar, says he is suing several individuals for slander. Kivisaar says he was the target of a mass defamation campaign following on-air remarks he made about the police killing of George Floyd in the United States in May, during which he allegedly used a racial slur.

Kivisaar says the individual had engaged in a nationwide defamation campaign against him.

"Some time ago, certain people embarked on a mass defamation campaign. In reaching their vile goals, they used lies, slander, fake news, all of which were mainly based on words ripped out of context. It looked like the people went so far into their own lies that they started to believe them themselves," Kivisaar said in a video statement.

He added that he hand provided an opportunity for the parties involved to apologize, to repair the damage, to avoid going to court, but that this had not been taken up.

"And you know what? None of them even bothered to apologize. I waited for a month and, now, the time is over. The girl who lead the campaign is going to be served the lawsuit first. And several other citizens will receive a letter soon," Kivisaar said.

The case followed a SkyPlus morning program where Kivisaar, along with co-hosts Kristjan Hirmo and Maris Järva, chatted about protests and riots in the U.S. which followed the death of George Floyd, a black American who was under arrest in Minneapolis, MN. Kivisaar used a racially derogative term when discussing the episode.

Kivisaar's remarks then spread via Twitter and were subsequently picked up by Black Lives Matter (BLM) Estonia, part of the wider global BLM movement and which uses the #BLM hashtag.

Kivisaar had previously said that his individual remarks had been out of context and in fact, he unequivocally condemned the police act which led to Floyd's death.

An online petition (link in Estonian) is calling for Kivisaar's removal from broadcasting on SkyPlus radio and has close to 6,000 signatures so far.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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